Saturday, April 14, 2007

Driti reveals foreign plot - Friday, April 13, 2007

THE military's Land Force Commander Colonel Pita Driti claims he was approached by foreign diplomats to overthrow Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

He said three ambassadors Australia's Jennifer Rawlinson, Larry Dinger of the United States and British High Commissioner Roger Skyes visited him days before the December military takeover in an attempt to incite mutiny.

"Australia, US and UK ambassadors visited me trying to incite mutiny in the camp," he said.

"They came in and tried to get me to overthrow the commander a couple of days before the coup."

Colonel Driti made the revelation at a ceremony yesterday to farewell soldiers leaving for Baghdad on April 27, on a United Nations mission to Iraq.

He went on to hit out at Australia and New Zealand for their criticisms.

"Their criticisms are very childish and full of outright hypocrisy," he said. "Why should they talk and point at us when they have more guns in their own international airport compared to the RFMF armoury holdings.

"Australia and New Zealand are not even trying for Pakistan, Thailand and Ghana to be banned from UN peacekeeping given that two of those countries also had coups."

Colonel Driti said if he came into power he would close the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions.

"At times and personally speaking, if I ever get into power I might certainly close the Australia and New Zealand embassies," he said. "I will send all respective staff home because of their (governments') paradoxical ways of doing their business.

"The irony is that they know we need each other in the globalised world we live in."

New Zealand ambassador Michael Green declined to comment when contacted while comments were sought from the Australian High Commission and other embassies.

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